July 31, 2014
Neighbors Discuss Fireworks
Last Wednesday (July 23), a group of neighbors from Westcore and Washington School Neighborhood gathered to discuss the recent surge in fireworks usage in the months of June and July this summer.
The group shared stories of how they experienced fireworks being used, ranging from enjoying using fireworks on the 4th of July, to being physically hit by debris, and having rockets directly hit homes and windows. The majority of the group expressed primarily concerns and frustrations. Concerns focused on safety, noise disturbances, and the abuse of the new laws which permit sales and limited legal usage of fireworks. Many had contacted law enforcement to report incidents of misuse and disturbance.
The primary purpose of the meeting was to discuss how to respond to these activities in a neighborly way, aside from calling the police and signing petitions for reversal of the new laws. When asked the question of “Have you approached, or would you, approach your neighbors to voice complaints?” most agreed that except in rare cases, fear of negative responses prevents this sort of interaction. Most residents present reported that they would not be comfortable dealing with safety and disturbance complaints on a person-to-person basis.
The Neighborhood Connectors from Westcore and Washington School Neighbors listened to the residents as they answered questions about how to move forward in a constructive way to make fireworks usage safer and more compliant with existing laws. What emerged was a strong sense from residents that more education was needed to bring awareness to what the actual laws are, and, in the interests of our community life, to give voice to some of the ways that fireworks over use or mis-use has effected peoples in the downtown core.
The Neighborhood Connectors offered to put together multi-layered approaches for residents to participate in getting the word out about proper and respectful fireworks usage.